I’m currently reading “The Polynesian Family System in Ka’u, Hawai’i” by ES Craighill Handy and Mary Kawena Pukui. Kawena (her full name is Mary Abigail Kawenaʻulaokalaniahiʻiakaikapoliopelekawahineʻaihonua Wiggin Pukui) was a very notable and respected author on Hawaiian culture, having written over 50 scholarly works including “the” Hawaiian-English dictionary and “‘Olelo No’eau“, a collection of 3000 Hawaiian proverbs. If you have any interest in Hawaiian culture or history, pick up anything and everything written by Kawena.
“The Polynesian Family System in Ka’u, Hawai’i” goes into detail on the family structure, practices and environment in Ka’u (the southwestern part of Hawai’i encompassing south point and the active volcanic regions) from early ancient culture until the arrival of the missionaries (who failed to understand the fundamental importance of ‘ohana among the islanders). One of the interesting sections in the book describes the life cycle of Hawaiians within the context of the traditional family structure, and herein is relayed advice on how to determine if an unborn child will be a boy or a girl (page 77):
“An expert in delivery (kahuna pele keiki) could detect the sex of the expected child by various means: by clairvoyance, by dreaming; or more simply at times asking the mother to extend one hand: if she held out the right it would be a boy; if the left, a girl.”
I’m curious to try this with my pregnant friends to see how accurate the last bit is, and I encourage any readers to try the same. If nothing else, it is always nice for friends to hold the hand of an expectant mother now and then.